Threefold Law. He loves coffee made with a French press and is a connoisseur of epic fantasy. His writings are available in paperback and for Kindle on Amazon.
At what point do you earn the title of author? Who bestows it upon you? What is the difference between a writer and an author? What does this all mean?
Decades ago and up through the recent past, things were quite simple. Authors wrote books. Published authors had an agent that sold the books to a publisher. Unrepresented writers took their manuscript to a vanity press and paid for a box of their self-published books that appeared under the Christmas tree of the extended family, and ironically, back into a box in the deep recesses of said family’s attic. Simple.
Now, in 2012, what does it mean to be an author? An idea for a book does not make one an author. A blog does not make one an author. Bloggers can write frequently but some are not really considered writers any more than those that Tweet are writers. Writers compose many different types of readable content, not all of which becomes published. Bloggers are generally writers but not always authors, writers can be authors but not necessarily bloggers, and bloggers can be both writers and authors or neither. Got that? People tell me that they have a great idea for a book and I am always excited to hear that. Unfortunately, ideas alone do not make you a writer or an author. Ideas make you a thinker and thinking is good, but authors make books.
So you have an idea and you write a book, let’s say fiction in this case. Without getting into the level of detail about the writing process as I did in this post, this means you have written a manuscript, revised it, and edited it. If you gave it to someone, they could read this story that had a beginning, middle, and end. Does this mean you are an author?
Right now the industry is lost in the same way the major record labels were ten years ago. Amazon and its KDP program says anyone that can upload a Word document is an author. Legacy publishers say that you are not an author unless they stock your books on a shelf in a “real” bookstore, if you can still find one. Readers do not really know. Many remain fixated on what the industry tells them is a book while others have redefined terms for both the creator and the product.
One thing that is for certain is that books must still be written. They cannot materialize out of the air and the latest robot in Japan cannot create one. If an author writes a story in the forest and nobody reads it, is it a book? If you want to be CALLED an author, keep listening to what agents and publishers say. If you want to BE an author, write the best story you can and let the universe sort out the nametags.